When Alan asked the congregation on Sunday if we (as individuals) were ever annoying, I leaned over to my brother and whispered, “Literally every day of my life.”
Sometimes I actually try to annoy people, mostly my brother because that’s just how we are, but I often feel like I’m being annoying even if I’m not doing anything. Which is why I’m very glad that I can’t be arrested for being annoying like Peter and John pretty much were in Acts 4.
Acts 4:1-3 (NLT) reads, “While Peter and John were speaking to the people, they were confronted by the priests, the captain of the Temple guard, and some of the Sadducees. These leaders were very disturbed that Peter and John were teaching the people that through Jesus there is a resurrection of the dead. They arrested them and, since it was already evening, put them in jail until morning.”
Imagine: a night in the slammer just because someone didn’t like what you were saying.
This scripture reminds us of two things. First, the apostles may have started the Church, but they practiced Judaism. The only difference between them and conventional Jews was that they believed the Messiah had already come. Jewish believers, especially those higher up or who had prestige in the faith, probably thought the apostles were pretty strange. Second, it reminds us that the opposition that Jesus faced did not die with Him. He said this would happen in scriptures such as John 15:18 and 16:33. Religious sects and individuals still very much disliked Jesus and what He said and did and, by extension, disliked His followers as well.
“But many of those who heard the word believed; and they numbered about five thousand” (Acts 4:4, NRSV).
Other translations say it was five thousand men, which wouldn’t include the number of women and children. Regardless, we know at least five thousand people believed because of Peter and John. As annoying as religious leaders found them, others were touched and changed by the message they spoke.
The next day, Peter and John were standing in front of leaders and elders and pretty much everyone. When questioned about how they were doing what they were doing, they responded by proclaiming the power of Jesus.
Peter had a history of hiding and denying, and it would have been easy to back down in this situation. Easy, but devasting. He shows a lot of growth here because he holds onto his boldness and stands his ground. The consequences be what they may, Peter wasn’t going to say anything but the truth.
What you say and do, how you think and feel won’t please everyone, and that’s okay. Some people won’t like you and some will find you annoying. But someone can reach the people you can’t, and you can reach the people I can’t. All we need is to embrace who we are in Christ and take hold of the boldness He offers us. Not everyone will think you’re annoying. Many will be thankful for the impact you make.
By Carrie Prevette